The Corniche is a favourite promenade spot. Families, couples and groups of dressed-up young people saunter along its length, stopping to greet friends or to have a coffee-and-nargileh break at one of the cafés along the route. While many locals say the Corniche starts at Ras Beirut on Ave de Paris in the east and ends at the St George Yacht Motor Club in Ain al-Mreisse to the west, others say it encompasses the entire waterfront area around to Pigeon Rocks to the south.
You'll see a great cross-section of Beiruti life on your walk, from backgammon-playing old men to teenagers dressed to impress, particularly on a Saturday night, when people bring their own plastic chairs and set up temporary camp to watch the world go by. Just north of Pigeon Rocks, you'll spot the sparkling, squealing attractions of the Lunapark amusement park, whose Ferris wheel is a perennial favourite with local adults and kids alike.
Pole fishing from the Corniche is a popular pastime, especially near the steps that lead down to the front of the Corniche wall, though you'll probably wonder whether they ever catch anything big enough to be worth the effort. You'll probably also be tempted by vendors with their handcarts of hot nuts, corn, and ka'ik, the handbag-shaped circular bread that's hooped around their carts. You'll also hear the clinking of coffee cups from wandering coffee vendors.
You'll no doubt encounter the BYO nargileh culture, which entails parking your car near a bench on the Corniche, cranking the music up and lighting up your own hookah pipe to share among your closest friends. If you're visiting during the summer months, just before you reach the AUB Beach you will also see the teenagers risking life and limb diving off the Corniche and landing in the sea between the rock formations.